The Phillies finally added a starter today in 30 year-old 33 year-old Fausto Carmona Roberto Hernandez. Though the move was particularly underwhelming, at least it's a guy. Yes, someone who can show up and pitch. The Phillies find their starting rotation in dangerous need of more options. Simply put, the Phillies have few.
The Phillies' 40-man roster includes the following starting pitchers:
- Cole Hamels
- Cliff Lee
- Kyle Kendrick
- Roberto Hernandez
- Jonathan Pettibone
- Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez
That's it. Six. To make matters worse, even the Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. does not even sound too sure that Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is ready to start in the major leagues. Amaro told the Philadelphia Inquirer's Matt Gelb that the Cuban defector Gonzalez could be behind on his development since he has not really pitched since defecting from Cuba.
'It is a concern because he hasn't pitched competitively for a long time,' Amaro said. 'But we're going to do everything we can to prepare him to do that.'
Throw in the fact that a likely failed-physical caused the Phillies to scale back the original deal, the question mark is even bigger.
So the Phillies then are likely to be one of the teams to pick up an upper-level veteran starter, correct? Not so fast. Amaro specifically tried to throw water on any hot stove that started to catch fire, as Matt Gelb passed along some discouraging words:
Amaro: “Kendrick has 64 wins. You know how many wins Garza has? 67.”— Matt Gelb (@magelb) December 11, 2013
How about having Kendrick's 64 wins and Matt Garza's 67 wins in the same rotation? Having Kendrick does not mean the Phillies cannot have Garza too. But, the Phillies seem unwilling to spend money on a starting pitcher. Thus, that would explain why the team signed Hernandez:
"It's more of a depth guy," Amaro said. "It's not somebody who is going to slide into the top of the rotation. But we need some depth. We're trying to get the best bang for our buck, and in this marketplace, it's tough because the prices have soared pretty significantly. We're just trying to add a little bit of depth.
And to create even more, they appear prepared to go down some roads that did not work.
Ethan Martin made his debut in 2013 as a starter, and from all accounts - even plenty from the team itself - his approach is much better suited as a bullpen arm. Martin's lively arm frequently got him into trouble in early innings. But, if Martin could come in for an inning, throwing fastballs by batters, it might work.
Now? Even though it did not work, the Phillies are going to put Martin back on track to start:
"We'll likely have [Jonathan] Pettibone and Ethan Martin stretched out, and hopefully that will create enough depth for us. We're going to try to continue to look for some depth there. The likely signings we'll have there, if we can get this one done, will probably be free-agent invites, that sort of thing, to create some depth in Triple-A."
So, picture some of the names that the Phillies have gone through in recent years:
- Aaron Cook
- Scott Elarton
- Dave Bush
- Pat Misch
- Rodrigo Lopez
- Joel Piñiero
- Nate Bump
If Gonzalez does not make the team because he is not ready and any starter goes down with an injury, the Phillies will already be on to the Ethan Martin/Aaron Cook-types.
That is scary.